Irish cake maker who shed 10 stone: ‘When you don’t want to look in the mirror because of your weight and cry looking at photos it becomes a vicious cycle’
An Irish confectioner has revealed that losing more than ten stone has changed her life and has helped her out of a difficult time where she struggled with depression.
Marie Bohan (45) has battled with her weight for her entire life and felt that her size contributed to depression as she felt she was trapped in a “vicious cycle”.
“When my son Darragh made his Holy Communion in May 2012, I was so uncomfortable in my dress and when I saw the pictures I cried because I hated them so much,” said Marie from Ballyduff Co. Wexford.
“At the time I was suffering from depression and I was on antidepressants. I feel like it’s all a vicious cycle.
“Obviously depression isn’t all tied into weight, there were other things going on. It took five years to conceive my son Darragh and after he was born I had two miscarriages.
“But when your weight is piling on and you don’t want to look in the mirror or even get in a picture, it all becomes a bit of a vicious cycle which is difficult to get out of.
“I was in that low place where I just couldn’t see around the corner or a way out of the darkness.”
Before making the decision to join Weight Watchers with a friend two years ago, Marie shed more than five stone on a meal replacement diet in the space of five months.
“In 2007, I lost five stone through a meal replacement diet over such a short period of time. I was eating bars and soups and shakes. Of course before I had even gotten used to being smaller I started eating proper food again the weight piled back on and over the course of a few years I had gained nine stone,” she said.
“In January 2013, my friend Lisa encouraged me to join Weight Watchers with her which was great because I wouldn’t have had the courage to do it myself. When I stood on the scales I was shocked to find I weighted over 20 stone,” she said.
Marie soon became absorbed by the programme’s healthy eating plan and it even had a shockwave effect on her family as her husband Jim Bohan has also shifted more than 6 stone.
“Although Jim doesn’t come to the classes he’s been following the plan and he’s lost about six stone. Together we’ve lost more than 16 stone between us and now we go out and do things more than we did before.
“The boys, for example, went fishing the other day and I walked the beach which would have been something we’d have never done before,” said Marie.
The Wexford mum said that since surpassing her goal weight people are always baffled that she could accomplish this feat while working in a bakery but she credits her leader Siobhan McGuire for helping her stay on track.
“I work in a bakery called Sugar and Spice in Bunclody and I make and decorate the cakes. People always say to me ‘How did you lose it when you’re working in a bakery?’
“In actual fact, I eat lunch at the bakery and deli every day. I just know how to make healthy choices now.
“I love chocolate and I still make sure I have a little treat each day whether that be a bar of chocolate or a small packet of crisps,” she said.
“At the beginning of Weight Watchers I filled a glass with 126 marbles which each signified a pound I had to lose to reach my goal weight.
“I wanted so much to see these marbles move from one glass to the other and it killed me when I had to move them the other way,” she said.
Like many people who have lost a significant amount of weight, Marie revealed that she has been left with excess skin after shedding almost half her body weight.
“This weight loss has changed my life but it’s left me with a lot of skin and my tummy and my arms are particularly bad. I have a lot of toning up to do. To be honest I’d probably be a good candidate for surgery but that’s not for me. I’ve taken up classes with Finches’ Fitness in Wexford and I’ve been doing aerobics, kettlebells and circuits which have been great.
“My family joke that two years ago I thought a plank was a piece of wood not an exercise,” she said.
The trim and healthy mum has even donated one of her super-size dresses to a local initiative Buy My Dress which helps raise money for Down Syndrome Centres nationwide.
"Loads of people in my meeting are donating dresses that no longer fit them and it's for a great cause. I'm hoping to come away with a dress in a much smaller size now," she said.
Marie said that one of the most positive things about her weight loss has been its impact on her son Darragh (11).
“In Weight Watchers we have a thing called NSV (a non-scale victory) which can be any little thing that doesn’t involve the pounds you’ve lost but how they’ve helped change something in your life.
“Last year, my son Darragh came up to me and hugged me. He said: ‘Mum, my arms can go all the way around you now and meet’. I didn’t realise that I had been so big before that my child could not even hug me. It was such an emotional moment,” she said.
“I still have a lot of bad days, but now I just draw a line in the sand and start anew.” she said.
"If my experience helps just one person that will be enough for me. Everyone just needs that helping hand to get started."